The Southwestern University Phi Beta Kappa Society chapter is thrilled to welcome Francis Su through the Visiting Scholar Program.

Francis Su

Francis Su will give a lecture entitled Mathematics for Human Flourishing on Tuesday, November 12 at 4:00 pm in Olin 105.

Too often, math is taught as a bunch of procedures to follow, absent of any larger meaning. Too often, math has been used as a way to separate people, rather than bring them together. It’s no wonder then that many have anxiety over their math experiences. Su is advancing a different vision: that math is intimately tied to what it means to be a human being and live a more fully human life. Mathematics can meet basic human desires and build virtues that serve you well no matter where your life takes you. If you realize this, then everyone is a ‘math person’ and your deepest human desires reveal your mathematical nature—you only need to awaken it. He’ll also share what a prison inmate has taught him about a subject he thought he knew so well.

Su is the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College.  In 2015 and 2016, he served as president of the Mathematical Association of America. His speeches and writing have earned acclaim for describing the humanity of mathematics, and for calling people to greater awareness of issues that contribute to inequitable mathematics education.  Wired Magazine called him “the mathematician who will make you fall in love with numbers.” His research is in geometric combinatorics and applications to the social sciences. From the Mathematical Association of America, he received the 2018 Halmos-Ford award for distinguished writing, as well as the 2013 Haimo Award for exemplary teaching. Three of his articles have appeared in the Princeton anthology The Best Writing on Mathematics in 2011, 2014, and 2018.  His bookMathematics for Human Flourishing will be published by Yale University Press this year.

The lecture is free and open to the public.